Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hanumanchatti to Kharadi Falls(Yamuna Odyssey 10)

Ganges Yamuna Trail

Uttarkashi and Thalan (Ganges/Yamuna trail 1)
Uttarkashi to Agoda (Ganges/Yamuna trail 2)
Agoda to Dodital (Ganges/Yamuna trail 3)
High altitude meadows of Himalayas (Ganges/Yamuna trail 4)
Lost in the leopard territory (Ganges/Yamuna trail 5)
Lost in the mountains again (Ganges/Yamuna trail 6)
Arrival in Hanumanchatti (Yamuna Odyssey 7)
Dinner in Hanumanchatti (Yamuna Odyssey 8)
Yanuma Dreams (Yamuna Odyssey 9)
Hanumanchatti to Kharadi Falls(Yamuna Odyssey 10)
Yamuna in Barkot (Yamuna Odyssey 11)
हम भी मिले थे कभी जमुना किनारे. (We met by the river Yamuna) (Yamuna Odyssey 12)

We arrive in our hotel in Hanumanchatti after sunset.
Some patients are sitting and waiting for Dr. Briana, some are waiting for long hours and some have small children with deformed bones. Unwillingly she gets busy with them. She can only educate them or advise them.
I have a mischievous plan in my mind that I must put it to action to have another best day in my life. This will only work if I do it alone secretly.
I walk out to find one dark colored young boy whom I saw many times working as a porter. This poor boy always has a smile on his face and mostly he is found at the crossroads where mountain trails land on the road head just before the street of Hanumanchatti begins. He is there at his place and I make a deal with him. His name is Vinod.
We take another stroll after a grand supper prepared by the lady especially for us. We return to our room at 8 PM. Luckily today we have electricity and Briana brings out her thick Orthopedics manual and begins studying for her certification exams. To leave her along I take another very long walk on the deserted road towards Barkot side, luckily moon is the sky. Villages on the mountains around this large cup like valley are illuminated like fireworks and a very gentle sheep dog is also walking with me. I return to the room at 10PM, dog also returns with me and enter in the hotel and want to enter in the room and I let him come in. As I lock the room it wants to go out and I let him go out. As he leaves the room and then hotel, local dogs pounce upon him.
I throw rocks at the dogs to let him make his way.
Then in the room, to work on my plan I secretly begin packing my backpack. I leave out only essential things. Briana notices it and begins crying. My secret plan has backfired. She thinks that I will run away from her.
“You can leave but please inform me first like a man. Tell this to me on my face.”
“I am not leaving you but only packing because we have to leave in the morning.”
She is still worried and confused. I ask her to pack her most of the belongings so we make a fast run in the morning.
She does not ask about we are setting off for where because she has left this thing to me. She only wants to follow me to the hell or to the heaven – wherever or everywhere.
In the morning we go out for a cup of tea. Vinod is sitting outside as planned. We return to our room, we still have electricity and hot water heater is working. She decides to take a bath (lucky for me). I run out and find Vinod still sitting outside. I take him in my room and swiftly I pack up Briana’s backpack with all her spread up half a million of funny objects, and I hand him both backpacks. Now I have only my empty day-use backpack and a loincloth for river baths. He bolts off with our backpacks.
He will meet us at Khradi Falls village. I got rid of both backpacks otherwise she was never to part with her backpack. She always thinks that she may need this or that thing from her warehouse. And walking with her means I will end up carrying her backpack on my own back.
She comes out of bathroom and looks for her backpack and is scared now. She now feels helpless and is about to collapse.
“Wwwwwwww where is m m m m m mi bbbbb pppppppkkkkkkkk,”
“It is gone to the other village where we will be walking today.”
“Oh my God, she shuts her eyes with her hands and collapses on the sofa,” she is chanting, “Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh Mother Yamuna, Oh Mother Yanuma.”
“Don’t worry, if you need anything else, I will buy it for you.” Suppressing my laugh I assure her.
She is in a state of hysteria and repeatedly shouting, “You cannot do this to me.”
I stay silent.
Her song is now changed, “I am dead without my things. I am dead without my things.”
I go out to leave her alone. As I cross the hotel’s threshold I get an idea. I pluck a lemon hanging from a door along with chilies on a thread string. At tea shop I ask for 2 cups of lemon tea.
There I meet Alam the Gujjar, who gave us shelter in his hut in the alpine meadow above. He came down to sell 3 goats at a home for a wedding and with the money he was buying provisions. Items were being loaded on his two mules. Medicines for his livestock, rice, daal, vegetables, cheap new plastic shoes and sugar etc. etc. He says that he is sorry that he gave me two sacks as cover whereas I paid him generously. He wished, he could have gone to other camp to bring me some decent bedding. I assure him that I am still extremely thankful to him for his hospitality. I ask him to pay a visit to my room and meet Briana but he is a Muslim and very shy of women he hesitates and I give it up. He only wanders why Briana cannot come to see him at tea shop. I have no words to explain it to him about my recent situation.
धोबी का कुत्ता न घर का ना घाट का.
I promised myself that I will learn to play flute but will not go rodeo.
But reverse happened.
Here I am.
When I played flute everybody threatened me to break my hands and here I end up with this pretty orthopedic surgeon.
Now I can afford my hands to be broken but got no flute.
Jai Yamuna Mai.
I bring tea in two steel glasses and she is still in mortification. Her face is wet with tears and she is wiping her nose with my loincloth. I give her tea.
She takes the cup and begins sipping it while sobbing.
Had I expected this situation, I’d rather carry her backpack all the way to IGI airport to bid her farewell.
“Give me a list of things that you may need and I will buy.”
She now stands up and goes to the bathroom and as a creature of habit again comes to look for her backpack and here begins another round of mortification.
“My moisturizer, my lipstick, my kit, my books, my teddy bear, my passport, my money, my comb, my scarf, my jacket, my slippers, my mother’s picture, my father’s picture, my rocks those I picked up near Gopi’s shop, my socks, my dog’s picture…. My.. Oh My God!”
I don’t know weather to laugh or cry.
I hand her my loincloth to wipe her nose again and leave out to order super duper parothas.
When I return with a small bottle of moisturizer, she is miraculously ready and my small day backpack is now bulging with her remaining funny objects.
“You look stunning without makeup.” I comment to cheer her up.
Her makeup kit is also gone to Kharadi Falls.
She gives me an angry gesture.
I drag her out of the room and we check out from the hotel. After super-duper parothas with gram-curry and curd I drag her on the road for our 15 kilometer walk to Khradi falls.
Spell of the magic valley works on her and as we cross the bridge gradually she is becoming normal.
In another half kilometer she is again cheerful.
At a waterfall I wash my loincloth and spread it on my back to dry it up.
Each step that we walk in this valley is blissful. Zung Bahadur gives me a big salute and also informs us that Vinod was walking with our backpacks. So save money that idiot didn’t take any public transportation but walked.
She wants to run to catch him up.
People laugh, saying that nobody can catch Vinod he looks like a diesel engine and he runs like a diesel engine.
We walk and it takes us hour and a half to walk the whole girdle of the road. Road leaves the huge cup of this valley and we miss everything that we leaving behind. We pay respects to Hanumanchatti and Valley and take the turn.
Now sun is warm and I plan to take a bath at a waterfall that is visible. We walk there, a lady is washing clothes and she suggests me to take a bath at next waterfall because water is gentle there. I take the suggestion and walk further 2 kilometers and indeed water is gentle. I see a home near waterfall and nobody is around, I steal a saree that is left for drying, I bring it for Briana to take bath. Below the road bridge is a private area there she goes to take a bath. We bath there for one long hour.
I return the saree back to the place and we walk. Now river is in a narrow ravine and road is also touching the river at many places. Traffic is very low at this time of the year. Soon in two weeks this area will see some unprecedented traffic jams.
We walk leisurely and it is all steep downhill now. Yamuna is like a cascade from Yamunotri to Kharadi falls. At Khradi Falls it settles up in a relatively open valley till Herbartpur where it comes out of the mountains.
We have another cup of tea at a road-trail intersection. Our destination is just 4 kilometers now. It is 1 PM. We are told that we will get good food at Kharadi Falls. OK then – we keep walking in this utterly scenic and green ravine. I am again tempted to just sit by the river forever but we are hungry too. At 2 PM.
We arrive at Kharadi Falls and Vinod. Next to the road, on a rock Vinod is sleeping over our both backpacks. We don’t wake him up but find a restaurant in the small market. Gentleman at the restaurant promises us lunch in half hour. A Mr. Narayan comes to us and asks if we want room – yes we do need a room. He points to a large hotel in front of the restaurant and says that all rooms are open and we can pick just anyone for 300 rupee.
Briana again plays her charms and gets the room for 150 rupee. Well she can get away with just anything, not me. I have no skill to do bargaining and being the highest bidder.
We sit in the room, electricity is playing games and water heater is coming on and off. We are informed that our food is ready. We wake up Vinod and tell him to dump our belongings in our room that is facing the laughing and bubbling Yamuna Mai and then come for lunch. After lunch Vinod departs, I paid him in advance for his services and he is happy.
Kharadi Fall turns out an exceptionally beautiful place. We explore the village, it is divided in two parts and water is just falling all over in small cascades. First comes a touristic part where we are staying and then comes a huge waterfall that is thundering and crashing in the valley by the road and then after half kilometers comes the main tiny bazaar with a couple of restaurants and more hotels. We decide to have dinner in the later half of the village and no need to order the dinner in advance because we can see a husband and wife pair cooking several things in the hut like restaurant.
On a mountain towards Barkot is a town of Rajgarhi. Many large buildings are visible on the ridge of the mountains and I am told that it is a scenic town and an ancient seat of the local Kings. I am unable to find any further information abut Rajgarhi on the internet. People say that those structures are ancient homes and palaces and some are turned into schools and colleges.
We return to our room and want to sit by the river. We take a path that crosses the village and goes towards the river. We cross one dangling bridge and come on the island in the Yamuna. I bring my shaving kit with me and I shave there without a mirror and Briana fixes all the spots those I missed. I am again tempted to take a bath in the Yamuna. It is now 5PM and in the remaining sunlight I take another bath while Briana just relaxes on a large rock. We see trout fishes making a jump off in the river and two arrive near me but efficiently make a return to the water. I have no loincloth so let the sun and air to dry me.
We return to our room and luckily electricity stayed and water is hot. TV do not work in our room but we are free to use just any room so we go to other room to watch some TV after many days.
At night we walk to the other half of the village for our supper. It is 9PM and mountains are lit by moon we have another walk towards Jankichatti area and then come to our room. Things are crammed all over and we have no strength to arrange our belongings so we leave that room as it is but sleep in other room. So one room for our backpacks, one room to watch TV and one is the bedroom.
By the way, Kharadi Falls village is named because long ago this village was famous for wood mills (kharads). Mills were run by water from the fall.
See you again, Jamuna Odyssey is not over yet.
हम भी मिले थे कभी जमुना किनारे.

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